Travelling can be fun and fast-paced – getting to explore new places and cultures and perhaps even pushing your comfort zone by participating in some adventurous new activities. However, travelling inevitably involves a lot of inactivity as well. This could be when you are being transported from A to B or when you are waiting for a delayed flight. So when you travel a lot, you need to find some activities to kill time. And there will be a lot of time to kill. That can be a good thing though if you manage to use that time productively. One of Kia’s best friends has the mantra: Travel time is sleeping time. While it can be useful to catch up on some sleep, it can be hard to continue sleeping 24 hours straight or when sharing your seat with a goat and a chicken on a bumpy Vietnamese bus that seems to be on the verge of veering off the steep mountain road every second minute. What to do then?
When we can’t sleep, our go-to activity is, without a doubt, reading!
But what to read? Fiction will help pass the time quickly, but in terms of productivity, it is wise to have a few non-fiction books on your book list as well. In the last couple of years, we have actually more or less stopped reading fiction. But that doesn’t mean you should as well. This is probably more a result of personal preferences. Kia has never really read fiction. It might sound weird, but it simply doesn’t interest her much. She doesn’t like reading something that some stranger just made up, so she prefers factual, self-help, and motivational books. Nick enjoyed reading Game of Thrones very much, but since then has also emphasised non-fiction. He finds that, after putting them down, those are the books that seem to stay with you the most.
Our book recommendations below illustrate some of the top books that we feel had a profound impact on our life decisions and changed our perspectives the most. We hope they can do the same for you, or at least inspire you to get some more reading into your everyday life. So many studies show that reading is beneficial for you in every possible way, and even reading a few pages a day will have an impact. Audiobooks might do the trick for you as well and can be particularly useful in places where reading might induce motion sickness or if your eyes need a rest.
Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
by George S. Clason
This book is without a doubt the book we have re-read the most times! It helps that it is short and an easy read. It is like a hundred years old, a classic basically, and we both try to read it once a year. That way, we remember its critical lessons. We always regret not living more by the teachings whenever we re-read it, and it keeps us accountable to each other and ourselves when we re-read it again and again. The book is super short, but the messages come across strongly! It contains everything you need to know about wealth and how you create success for yourself. It has our highest recommendations. You need to share these pearls of wisdom with your partner, your friends or your family; basically anyone you would like to help succeed. That also makes it more likely that they will support you in your dreams and celebrate your successes. Just read it, and you will understand.
Ten reasons we are wrong about the world and why things are better than you think, by Hans Rosling
This book is spot on and truly mind-blowing. It tells you what’s what and helps you stop thinking as if you live in the 1960s. It’s factual in the best possible way and really opened our minds to reality. It is one of the best books we have read in a long time (and we have read quite a lot), and we just cannot recommend it enough! You won’t understand until you read it, but this book is one of the most important books written in the last couple of years. Everybody, and we genuinely mean EVERYBODY, should read this. Take the quiz in the beginning, and you will realise your view of the world is wrong and outdated. If you don’t believe us, watch some of Hans Rosling’s TED talks (they are quite entertaining). Or perhaps you would rather listen to Bill Gates?
Either way, we strongly suggest you read it! Hans Rosling wrote this book knowing he was deadly sick with cancer. He has since passed away, so this book is his final gift to the world. You can feel that he believes every word to be of the utmost importance, and we agree!
by Dr Jospeh Murphy
This was another mind-blowing book. It (successfully) tries to explain how the subconscious mind works, and more importantly, how you can make it work for you instead of against you. Dr Murphy has changed the lives of many, and he really impacted the way we think about how much power our mind has over our decisions. And not to mention how it can control your body and health. Our subconscious mind is in charge of around 90% of our daily thinking – so getting to know it a bit better, will probably benefit the hell out of all of us. The book is from 1965 (edited at a later point, of course) but everything in it is just as true now as it was then. Just read it, and you will understand. Kia got particularly fascinated by the effect of the subconscious mind on children. It is frightening, really. All in all, an inspiring book, which everybody, almost regardless of age, will benefit from reading.
Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living, by Shauna Niequist
This book is about decluttering your mind and your life. You should just think about what’s essential and what’s right for you. It’s sometimes a bit focused on the connection to God, which none of us are big fans of, but if you can read past that, then the book has some excellent points. Shauna tells the story about how she learned to say no to otherwise good opportunities, and how that makes her able to say yes to other aspects of life. If you say no to something, you allow yourself to say yes to something else. This point resonated well with us, and even though our lives are nothing like Shauna’s, there are valuable points. You shouldn’t read this book and expect to get everything served though. You have to take in her story and see how it applies to your own life, situation and challenges.
by Og Mandino
The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino is one of the greatest and most uplifting books we have ever read. This book is not only for salespeople, or about salesmanship. It’s for everyone. The principles outlined in the book applies to everything and everyone, so you are sure to get something out of reading it. Luckily for all of us, the book is quite short, and to the point, so you will not even have to put it down before you finish. You are unlikely to be able to put it down regardless. The book will motivate you to pursue your dreams and be more successful. If you don’t agree with us, please write a comment below, as we would like to understand why.
Stop wishing, start doing, and take command of your life, by Bernard Roth
This book is based on the idea of “design thinking”. It tells you that everything is possible, even the unimaginable. You can take a course in design thinking at the Stanford d.school (The Institute of Design at Stanford), so it’s not a new concept. The idea is that the power of positivity and positive change can have a tremendous impact on the success of your ideas and your projects. Bernard tries to put a stop to excuses and encourages people to start doing instead! He gives you tools so you can ignore the distractions that hold you back or prevent you from achieving all of your life goals, as well as much more. He talks a lot about the “ego” which is basically the thing inside our brains that are trying to sabotage our dreams, every single day. The Achievement Habit helps introduce new practices into your life so you can finally make your hopes and dreams come true… and who doesn’t want that?
Simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life, by Richard Carlson
Happiness and stress reduction are probably two things we are all striving for. It’s easy to understand why Richards book became such a big hit back in the day – it says all the things you don’t like to hear but all the things you really, really need to understand. Being ambitious, like we are, can be both a blessing and a curse. Your strong drive can ruin opportunities, or even relationships, just because you simply cannot let go. This book is in stark contrast to whatever you have been taught growing up – chill out, take it easy, and success will eventually come. The book is written in a naturally flowing language, which ensures you understand the message. This also means you can enjoy reading the brief philosophies in a short period of time. All the tips are super easy to include in your everyday life, even if you are a busy person. Just chill and read this book. You can thank us later.
Sticking a finger up to the law of attraction and a thumb up to action, by Dan Meredith
The purpose of this book is basically to give you a fierce kick in the butt and make you do whatever it is you are putting off. It’s for everyone who has the bad habit of procrastinating, or who always find excuses for why your ideas are not as good as those of others. We are probably all guilty of that to some degree. It’s also for people who, in general, want to be f***ing awesome in life. Dan argues that the reason some people are living the sweet, sweet life, while others struggle, is basically due to hard work, taking care of yourself and your body, making good decisions, getting things done, and all that other jazz. However, he emphasises that it’s possible to be awesome and still have fun at the same time. The above list of things “you must do” to become successful are still valid, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t enjoy yourself and have fun doing it. Otherwise, you will never feel awesome! Dan tells his own, sad, story, and help you not to make the same mistakes he did. As long as you listen and read this book, of course.
How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life, by Jen Sincero
Jen has a writing style that pops out when you read her book. She speaks bluntly and is very direct. This is probably something you will either love or hate in a self-help book. No matter your preference for writing style, she comes up with some excellent points for you to improve your life. Her focus is on changing bad habits and creating the life of your dreams. The thing that resonated best with us was the point about accepting some of the things in your life that you simply cannot change. You should work with them instead of against them, even when it seems impossible. You can do it, we believe in you!
21 ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time, by Brian Tracy
If you haven’t noticed already, there is an overarching theme in this booklist which is starting to reveal itself. Yes, we have been struggling quite a bit with procrastination. The main thing we have learned about ourselves in this regard while reading a lot of self-help books sums down to one thing: Do something you love, and you simply don’t want to procrastinate. However, it is not always that simple. As an example, we want to travel the world. But some things that need to be taken care of for this to happen, like talking to the tax authorities, getting your vaccinations or whatever it might be, are not pure fun and games. Hence, we procrastinate. In Brians book, he provides 21 great ways to avoid this bad behaviour, and it is worth a read if you have a tendency to procrastinate.
The best advice we have taken from this book is that the first item on your to-do list that you should do is the one you want to do the least. If you get this over with, everything else on the list seems much more manageable. You have already finished the worst part. We tried practising this in another way as well: We discussed what thing we could do in the morning, that we absolutely wanted to do the least. Whether it would be an ice-cold shower straight out of the warm bed, push-ups or something completely different. The idea is then that you do this activity, even before you brush your teeth! As you can imagine, not such a fun idea, but it has a positive impact on the rest of your day. We have drifted away from this somehow, so we should probably try to take it up again. Let us know in the comments if you are in on this, so we know we are not alone!
What the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and middle class do not! By Robert T. Kiyosaki
This one is a classic. Regardless of what you may think of him, Robert is a great storyteller. The book is the story about how Robert learned from two different fathers growing up, one of which is his birth father (poor dad), the other the father of his best friend (rich dad). The book underlines the difference in mentality, specifically when thinking about money and how most of us are not very well educated in this regard. It makes you realise that you work for money when really, you should make money work for you. However, of course, we don’t think like that because through generations we have been taught otherwise. It’s not just our parents’ fault, though. This book really made us wonder why there is no school system in the world, not even the best one in Finland, that teaches kids about money. In a world where everything is about money, and everything has some monetary value, that seems kind of odd. This book guides you in what you should teach your kids about financial freedom and success, both now and in the future. The philosophies described are universal. If you have kids, plan on having kids, or just want to get challenged on your own beliefs regarding money, then read this book. You will not regret it.
If you sit down and read all of the 12 books listed above right now, your life will probably not change much from one day to the next. You will need to think about the ideas and lessons given and apply those principles to your own life and circumstances. We are definitely not perfect, and as we are writing this, we should probably re-read all the books. We most likely will. Reading a book a single time is rarely enough. It won’t get the message through our big skulls and will thus quickly be forgotten. You need repetition to be able to change year-old habits. But give yourself a break. It doesn’t have to happen right away. The most important thing is that you are working on it, and you will be on your way to success in no time! The road can feel long, though. We have struggled a lot, and still are, but we always focus on the fact that we are trying to do something about it! Fortunately, looking back at where we were just a few years ago, we are moving in the right direction.
If you would like more book recommendations, or have some suggestions of your own, please throw a comment below! Also, if you read any of the recommended books, please let us know what you think. It’s okay if you don’t agree with us – we are just curious to hear your opinion!